Athletics’ pitching puts Pirates on lockdown to open homestand


OAKLAND — Joe Boyle and two relievers shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Athletics played a fundamentally efficient game on offense Monday night in a 5-1 win at the Coliseum to kick off a 10-game homestand.

The paid attendance was 3,528, the fourth time in 14 home dates the A’s have drawn fewer than 4,000 fans.

Tyler Nevin hit a solo home run for the A’s in the first inning, his third of the season.

The A’s improved to 13-17. They didn’t win their 13th game in 2023 until June 6, when they were 13-50. Pittsburgh fell to 14-16.

Boyle (2-4) was effectively wild through five innings with four walks and four strikeouts, throwing 91 pitches, fewer than half of which (45) were strikes. Boyle had two wild pitches in the first inning with just 10 strikes in 26 pitches  and threw one ball to the backstop with no runners aboard.

Yet the damage was minimal.

“It was the most important part of the game,” Boyle said. “Set the tone for the rest of the outing. It was important to get out of that and settle in and I think that put them on their heels a little bit.”

Michael Kelly (47) is congratulated by catcher Shea Langeliers after getting the last out of a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night at the Coliseum. Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

A’s manager Mike Kotsay would prefer Boyle not live on the edge quite as much as he did.

“He got through it,” Kotsay said. “I’ll give the kid credit to go ahead and get through five innings after that first shows a lot of character. Command’s a struggle for him and it’s going to be a continuing process to try and get him in the zone as much as possible in his side work and in the bullpen and make that a focus.”

The only run the Pirates scored in the first came when Ke’Bryan Hayes scored on a wild pitch.  Hayes led off the game with a ground single to right.

“I looked up in the sixth or seventh and they still had only one hit and I actually couldn’t remember the hit,” Nevin said. “That keeps us in rhythm at the plate too. It’s very complementary baseball.”

Pittsburgh would get just one more hit the rest of the night, with Dany Jimenez putting up zeroes in the sixth and seventh innings and Michael Kelly in the eighth and the ninth. Oneil Cruz singled with one out in the ninth against Kelly, but the A’s ended things with a ground ball double play.

Pittsburgh starter Bailey Falter (2-2) was done after five innings in favor of Roansy Contreras, giving up five earned runs on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. The hardest hit ball was by Nevin, whose homer to left center in the first carried 404 feet at 102.8 miles per hour.

Oakland Athletics' Brent Rooker #25 is congratulated by Max Schuemann #12 after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Shea Langeliers #23 in the fourth inning of their MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 29, 2024. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Oakland Athletics’ Brent Rooker #25 is congratulated by Max Schuemann #12 after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Shea Langeliers #23 in the fourth inning of their MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, April 29, 2024. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) 

The Athletics took a 3-1 lead against Falter in the fourth with an inning that would warm the heart of any execution-minded batting coach.

Brent Rooker led off with a line single to center and was doubled to third by Abraham Toro, who found open spaces in right center.

Shea Langeliers was next, and he flied deep enough to center to score Rooker, and Max Schuemann hit a liner to left that brought home Toro.

It continued in the bottom of the fifth when Darell Hernaiz singled and was sacrificed to second base by Nick Allen. That put him in position to score on a double against the left field fence by Esteury Ruiz. After Ruiz stole third, Nevin hit the A’s third sacrifice fly in two innings for a 5-1 lead against Falter.



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